Vice President Dick Cheney (search) said Wednesday the United States cannot successfully fight the war on terrorism "if we try to retreat behind our oceans" and reiterated his criticism that Sen. John Kerry has a "pre-9/11 mind-set."

Cheney said Kerry does not fully recognize the urgency with which the United States must deal with the terror threat.

"It's absolutely essential that we stay on offense," Cheney told 100 supporters at a restaurant in the Flint-area community of Clio. "I don't think there's any way we can successfully prosecute this conflict if we try to retreat behind our oceans."

Kerry's record in the Senate "does not instill in me any confidence that he would aggressively pursue the war on terror the way I think it needs to be pursued," Cheney said. "I'm fearful that John Kerry has that kind of pre-9/11 mind-set."

Kerry campaign spokeswoman Kathy Roeder said: "The administration has had four years ... and hasn't reacted appropriately to secure our homeland as much as possible and to win the war against terror. Dick Cheney is part of an administration that is at this point flailing."